Opinion Time: Why You Should Consider a Destination Wedding

Hola! It’s opinion time here at Cat Hair in my Coffee.

Recently, I’ve received a lot of questions and comments about my decision to run away to Maine to get married and I have to say, most of these comments have really surprised me. In fact, the number one comment I actually get from married people is this: “I wish we would have done that.” Now, these married folks may just be saying this to me, because they secretly believe I’ll regret my decision and they want to make me feel as positive about it as possible. However, I truly believe that 80 percent of them are being truthful. Why? Because weddings are a you-know-what to plan and execute. Here are some fun facts for you to ponder.

  •  The average couple spends nearly $27,000 on their wedding. I read this fact and my jaw nearly hit the floor. That’s a new car, or a house full of new furniture, or 45 pairs of Louboutins! Think of the shoes, man!
  • The average number of guests attending a wedding is between 133 and 143. Most couples have commented that they barely spent any time enjoying their big day, because they felt they had to “make the rounds” at the reception.
  • Depending on the size, a wedding could take 10-12 months to plan. If you like wedding planning and can manage the tasks on your own, this could mean a year of fun. However, if you’re like me and start to glaze over at the discussion of floral centerpieces, this fact could be a deal breaker.
  • Once the wedding is over, coming down from the high can lead to post-nuptial depression. Suddenly after a year of planning and having people gush over your wedding plans, all those calls, all of that planning, comes to a crashing halt. You’re just left with a slice of cake in your freezer and a serving platter from your aunt Mildred.

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Obviously some of the info above could be viewed as a good thing for those who actually enjoy the efforts that go into wedding planning, but for others, it could be a wake up call. Still…the decision to forgo a medium to large sized wedding is entirely up to the individual couple and should be carefully considered before making the final decision. Alex and I knew early on that if/when we got engaged, we didn’t plan to have a large wedding. Still, we took the time after the initial engagement fuzzies started to wear off to make a level-headed decision together. We checked in with one another to make sure that it was the right decision for both of us. Turns out, we aren’t as in the minority with our preference as we thought! I snagged some of these elopement stories from a Huffington Post article. You can read all of the stories here.

So many reasons come to mind but perhaps the biggest was because we were also buying our first home at the time and blowing a lot of money on one day just didn’t seem like a smart financial move. We were able to afford a nice honeymoon trip by skipping the expensive wedding and had a small informal party when we returned — lots of fun without all the pressure of a big “performance.” – Laura, 44, of Massachusetts

My husband and I got married in secret because we didn’t want to babysit/worry about the less “stable” family members on that day. We did not want to hear other people’s opinions while planning the wedding. It meant our budget went A LOT further. The act of marriage was more important to us than a ‘big’ day. – Inga, 36, of Berkshire, U.K.

We decided to elope simply because we felt weddings have lost the art of being about love. Not all, but many turn into a status symbol for both attendees and participants. Everyone has an opinion on how you should celebrate your day, and people get all bent out of shape because they were not invited. You sometimes feel obligated to invite someone you dislike simply because you’re related or they are dating a relative. The bottom line, we don’t need a room of witnesses to our love because just living our life together is a testament to that. Also, we are a gay couple and we did not want people focused on it being a so-called “gay wedding.” So, we got our licence, we told no one except our witnesses and to the courthouse we went. We wouldn’t have done it any other way 🙂 – Brian, 33, of New York

Now a few things you should think about if planning on eloping/having a destination wedding.

  • All states have different marriage laws. We decided to go to Maine, because we always wanted to visit New England and thought, “Hey, why not?” Before booking, we looked into what sort of laws they have in place (i.e. blood test) just to make sure we didn’t have any surprises once we got up there. I’ve been extremely lucky, though. My officiant, Cynthia Chadwick-Granger  has been great with helping me figure a lot of this stuff out along the way. If you decide to get married in Maine, I highly recommend her services!!!
  • Your friends and family might not be thrilled about not being included…but remember, this is about what you want as a couple! Sure, your friends and family may be upset at first, but you can always have a celebration after you get back to make them feel included. In the end, do what feels right to you.
  • Research the heck out of the state before you go. Once we decided we wanted to go to Maine for our wedding, we had to narrow a more specific wingonwing.comlocation down. We decided to go with Portland, because it felt like the area that had the biggest variety of things to do. From there, I visited the city’s Visitor Bureau website for more information about places to stay in the area. That’s where I found their very convenient wedding planning team. I simply emailed the contact, received a series of questions back (wedding date, party number, budget, etc.) and just sat back and waited for the hotels and inns to contact me. It was that easy. I also had to take into consideration the weather conditions for that time of year. We wanted foliage, but didn’t want it to be terribly cold. That’s pretty much how we landed on our specific date (which had been moved several times).
  • Talk to your wedding boutique about shipping your dress. If you are flying to your destination, be sure to let the folks at your wedding dress shop know your plans. They can help assist you with getting your dress to your destination in one piece. We decided to drive to our destination, making dress transportation a little less of a headache.
  • Keep in contact with your destination. The frustrating thing about planning a destination wedding is that you can’t pop over to the venue to check things out in advance. You can look at pictures online, but you really have to put your trust and faith into the folks on the other end. Keeping an open line of communication is key to your sanity throughout the process.

I suppose I should sum up why you should consider a destination wedding. Here goes:

  1. You will save money.
  2. Your honeymoon can start as soon as the wedding is over. (You’re already there!!)
  3. If you do decide to take friends and family, it will be like a vacation for them. (Or hell, depending on how you handle wedding stress.)
  4. Planning is a lot easier. (Just be prepared for multiple checklists. You’ll be packing for everything all at once.)

Finally, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a state that welcomes all unions. When we first chose Maine, our decision was based purely on the fact that it’s a beautiful state with a variety of landscapes. After I did my homework, I learned that getting married there meant so much more. Choosing Maine meant that Alex and I could share our nuptials in a state that truly celebrated love. What’s better than that? 😀

Remember, the choice is yours. You can find ways to save money and have the wedding of your dreams. You can limit the guest list so it’s more cost efficient and intimate. Just because I am pro-elopement/destination wedding doesn’t mean traditional weddings aren’t the way to go. It’s gotta feel right to you and your significant other!

If you read this and think Maine might be the right place for your upcoming nuptials, feel free to reach out to me at bailee.r.morris@gmail.com.

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